The US Internet giant Google pays almost a billion euros to France in a tax dispute. This provides for an agreement with the French government, as Google announced. The agreement is intended to spare the Group further legal action because of the allegation of tax evasion. Google had previously signed similar agreements with Great Britain and Italy.
The payment amounts to the equivalent of 965 million euros. According to the group Google accepted a fine of 500 million euros and a tax arrears payment of 465 million euros.
The French tax inspectors had come to the conclusion that Google had paid too little tax in the country, while a large part of the revenue in Europe is booked through the European headquarters in Ireland. The French Public Prosecutor's Office launched its investigation in 2015. As part of the investigation in the spring of 2016, the Google offices were searched in Paris.
French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet and Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin welcomed the settlement. This puts an end to all ongoing litigation regarding the taxation of Google in France, they said. "Completing this affair shows that financial justice now has effective tools to fight against tax evasion," Belloubet said.
The amount in France is the highest ever paid by Google for tax procedures in Europe. In Italy, the company had settled similar investigations in 2017 with a payment of 306 million euros. It was mainly about the years 2009 to 2013. In the UK, Google had paid 130 million pounds (about 145 million euros) in taxes the previous year.